Is the Bible hate speech?

By January 31, 2024

International (MNN) — Jesus never promised that following Him would be popular. In fact, the Bible says the opposite. Still, it’s jarring to see Western countries asking Christians to pick and choose between “offensive” parts of the Bible.

Lawsuits in the Western world have challenged the Bible as hate speech for decades. In 2013, a lawsuit attempted to show that Bible verses commonly understood to forbid homosexual relationships were, in fact, hate speech. The lawsuit failed, as have most attempts to legally classify Scripture in hate speech in the West. There’s an ongoing case in Finland calling for the same result. 

Each failed lawsuit closes off a path to try and make Scripture illegal. Western courts seem to be reluctant to formally label the Bible as hate speech, but each new effort reflects on its nation’s cultural context.

Floyd Brobbel of Voice of the Martyrs Canada says there’s increasing pressure on Christians to keep their faith private. “I think increasingly in this world, you will see an attack on Scripture. You will see an attack on Christians’ ability to share Scripture publicly, to share their religious viewpoints publicly.”

Some countries have brutally strict governments or traditionally obvious persecution, but Christians in Western countries may not be used to religious discrimination. And yet in every part of the world, Scripture is “very much in opposition to the agendas being pushed by many within our societies and in government officials and leaders within our society.”

What’s the solution? According to some voices, if Christians are to persist in their beliefs, they have two choices: censor Scripture to be inoffensive or keep Christianity private. “You can read what you want to read, you can preach what you want to preach, you can say what you want to say, but it has to be within the context of the four walls of the church.”

This tension is not exclusive to any one area of the world. In fact, Brobbel says Christians can take solace in the fact that the struggle between God’s ways and the world’s ways is a universal one. “We work with Christians who are used to this type of thing, who have endured this type of thing over the years,” Brobbel says. “What they would say is that they must remain faithful in preaching the Word and being faithful to God in the midst of this type of opposition and to boldly proclaim the Word where needed.”

Ultimately, it leaves Christians facing a question: “What really is the cost of being a follower of Jesus? We haven’t had to ask that too deeply of ourselves in Western countries of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I think the time is coming where we need to be asking that question.”

Pray for courage, wisdom, and patience. Pray that no matter the culture or social climate, Christians will stand strong in their faith. Pray for God’s presence in every corner of the world.

Learn more about the work of Voice of the Martyrs Canada right here.



Header photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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